Knicks' Anthony celebrates after a three point shot late in the fourth quarter of the Knicks' win in Game 4 of their NBA Eastern Conference basketball playoff series against the Heat in New York

Knicks get measure of redemption, knock off Heat in Game 5


It doesn’t change the big picture – the Heat are still going to win this series and there are still questions about the construction and future of the Knicks.

But for a day the Knicks got a measure of redemption — the Knicks made the big plays late, Carmelo Anthony outplayed LeBron James, the Knicks got the win and ended their 13-game playoff losing streak. New York got the 89-87 win and now the Heat lead 3-1 heading back to Miami for Game 5 on Wednesday.

It felt like a different Knicks team from the start, with Amare Stoudemire returning to the lineup. But more than that, the Knicks came out with a little fire and a sense of desperation — Stoudemire has 6 points and 4 rebounds in the first quarter, Anthony had 8 points. All game long the Knicks did a good job of having Stoudemire rolling after setting a pick for Melo, or Melo driving and kicking. There was ball movement in the offense.

But the second quarter turned and felt like the rest of the series — the Heat went on a 12-0 run, they suffocated the Knicks with defense and were the team attacking and getting to the line (Miami had 17 second quarter free throws).

But the Knicks would not go quietly into that good night and came back from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter to make it a game late.

Anthony finished with 41 and was attacking — with six minutes to go in the game he got the ball in transition and went right at Wade to get the And 1.

But the real key for the Knicks was that Anthony and Stoudemire played well off each other — that is the one sign of hope going forward. Both men were attacking the rim and creating space for the other. The Knicks ran crazy triple screens that the Heat did not defend consistently all game and for once the Knicks made them pay.

It wasn’t all good news for the Knicks — Baron Davis went down in the third quarter with what was later determined to be a dislocated knee cap. He had to be carried off the court. With the team already missing Jeremy Lin, they don’t need to be down another point guard.

And it still came down to a last shot and a last chance for Dwyane Wade three for the win (Stoudemire did a good job defending him on the switch and when Wade lost the handle for a second he was forced into a desperation shot). Wade finished with 22 points, LeBron had 27.

There will be a Game 5, and the Knicks can win a playoff game. There are still a lot of questions to be asked about this team, but for a day New York gets the win and should savor it.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.

As expected, Jimmy Butler says no issue between him, Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler
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Is the Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler relationship nothing but puppy dogs and rainbows? No. There will be sparks between two intense competitors.

Have those sparks started a fire Bulls fans should be concerned about? A report on Wednesday said the core problem was Butler doesn’t respect Rose’s work ethic, which provided some kindling for that spark to catch.

However, as you would expect, Butler said this was all much ado about nothing, that he and Rose are all good. Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Spin this however you wish: Their relationship is fine and someone in the media is making this up; or their relationship has been rough, and this is all just leaking out now.

This is a Bulls team in a bit of a transition as Rose declines some and Butler has grown into a top-flight player. Clearly that dynamic has some people around the team — likely the people in one of one of the players’ camps doesn’t like the power struggle or where it leaves his buddy — talking out of school to the press.

But as Butler noted, winning cures all ills. If Chicago can get off to a fast start, nobody will be asking chemistry questions.

For now, however, tounges are wagging.